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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Teachers receive repeated death threats

By: V4 Agency

Teachers are under a constant threat in France. One year after Samuel Paty’s brutal beheading, a married couple – both teachers – have received repeated threatening letters bearing a photo of Mr Paty, who was also a professor. The educational ministry supports the threatened teachers by providing them escort and covering their legal costs.

A couple in Marseille filed a report with police after having received several threatening letters. The prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into death threats against persons holding public office, the French BFMTV portal writes.

According to the paper, the first letter arrived on 8 September, and that’s when the two professors filed their first complaint. They received another death threat in October. One of the type-written letters only contained the sentence “You’re going to die.” A photo of Samuel Paty, a teacher beheaded on October 16, 2020, was also dropped in their mailbox. Another letter said: “These are the last days – you will die next week.”

In response to the threats, Renaud Muselier, president of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region, responded by assuring the teachers of his support on behalf of the entire southern region. He tweeted that the couple was “threatened by barbarians,” adding that every effort should be made to protect educators and fight potential terrorists in the Republic of France.

The board of the Aix-Marseille school district issued a press release stating that on 8 September 2021, a married couple – both teachers – received a written threat and filed a complaint in turn. After the principal had informed the school district’s directorate without delay, its human resources department contacted the educators to provide “functional” protection and psychological support. The statement also says that the threats were repeated on Saturday, 16 October 2021 and that’s when the two teachers decided to file their second complaint with the authorities. The Aix-Marseille school district is keeping in touch with the couple and police in order to monitor progress in the ongoing investigation. The minister has firmly condemned the threats and offered maximum support to the teachers. He also asked Bernard Beignier, the rector of the Aix-Marseille school district, to follow up on any new developments. In its statement, the school district also stressed that it stands in full solidarity with all its teachers, adding that all physical or verbal threats or acts of violence against teachers are inadmissible.

The incident was not the only threat levelled at teachers in France over the last few days. Shouting “Allahu Akhbar”, a 15-year-old student at a school in Valence, the seat of Drome department, disrupted a commemoration held in tribute to Samuel Paty, according to the France Bleu news portal. After the school management had issued a disciplinary warning to the student, his father paid a visit to the school to speak out for his son and then threatened to set fire to the building. The management immediately alerted police and the arriving officers took the 43-year-old man into custody. According to information obtained by the portal, authorities could request a professional psychiatric evaluation. The prosecutor’s office has not provided any additional details regarding the case.

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